It’s really, really hard to reboot a classic. Whether we’re talking about movies or television, very few remakes are able to capture the essence of what made their namesakes such hits, and only once in a blue moon are they able to introduce something new and interesting. If you look back over the past few years, many reboots have been launched by major networks, but only a handful have stuck around past a few episodes. We’ve seen failed remakes of Knight Rider, Prime Suspect, Melrose Place, V and Charlie’s Angels, to name a few of many. So, maybe NBC is making the right choice by nipping one upcoming reboot in the bud; the network recently announced that it will not be moving forward with a reimagining of the classic series Murder, She Wrote.
The series, from writer Alexandra Cunningham and producer David Janollari, was set to star Oscar winner Octavia Spencer in the role originated by Angela Lansbury (pictured above). The remake would have followed a hospital administrator and budding detective, who self-publishes her first mystery novel. Murder, She Wrote got a lot of attention back in October when Spencer became attached, but NBC evidently didn’t have enough enthusiasm about the project to order it past the pilot stage.
Though the version of Murder, She Wrote with Octavia Spencer may never see the light of day, NBC has not given up just yet on rebooting the classic mystery series. Apparently, network execs feel that the series could be approached in a different manner, perhaps with a new set-up, at some point in the future. For now, however, Murder, She Wrote is no longer in the picture for the network’s fall schedule.
Truthfully, it feels like NBC may have dodged a bullet by opting out of the project at this stage. The idea of Jessica Fletcher pulling the night shift in a hospital is entirely contradictory to the small-town quaintness of the original series, and I can’t imagine there’s much appetite for a Castle-style mystery show moonlighting as a medical drama. Such a show would have a very difficult time establishing an identity for itself, and freshman runs for series with muddled concepts rarely end well. If pulling the plug means that the good name of the original series can remain unblemished by an inferior remake, I’m all for shelving Murder, She Wrote, despite Spencer’s inherent magnetism.
What do you make of the news? Are you glad that Murder, She Wrote won’t be returning, or were you looking forward to Spencer’s take on the role? Let us know below.